- Project Runeberg -  Diplomatic Reminiscences before and during the World War, 1911-1917 /

(1920) [MARC] Author: Anatolij Nekljudov - Tema: War, Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XIX. Sweden in 1915

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lathes, so absolutely indispensable to the making of all
metal things—munitions amongst others. Now as soon
as a Russian order of the kind was accepted in Sweden
and received an export licence, the Germans in their turn
claimed Swedish products, mainly foodstuffs such as
butter and pork, but sometimes farm-horses. Three
times Sweden, in spite of our protests, had to export
thousands of horses to Germany, horses that were not
suitable for the Army, all of them more than ten years
old, and which nevertheless fetched enormous prices (as
much as 2000 francs per horse). But every one knew
that these old Swedish horses went to German farms to
replace younger horses that were fit for the Army.

Such was in outline the position of international trade
in Sweden, a position which was tangled, confused, and
perpetually complicated by the political and military
considerations of the belligerents, by the suspicions,
denunciations, accusations, of the foreign Press and the
exaggerated claims of the local Press.

So as to combine our efforts satisfactorily, my
French and English colleagues and I decided to confer
continually on all political and commercial questions.
From the spring of 1915, the Italian Minister, M.
Tommasini, joined us, and the help of this diplomat,
gifted with such keen intelligence and such remarkable
aptitude for work, was most valuable to us. On all
questions of trade and transit, the tone was mainly set
by the British Minister, for his country controlled the
relations of Sweden with Western Europe and with
America. Luckily for me, I always found Sir Esme
Howard to be a man with a fair and well-balanced mind
and most capable of realising the urgent needs which I
had to meet and which were often in contradiction with
the principles adopted and jealously maintained in
London. We ended by settling our respective rôles.
Every time that I had to ask the Swedish Government
for a licence, an exemption or a permit in the sphere of
transit or the supplying of produce, I applied to my

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